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Mason Middle School

Standards Based Instruction

​Books and Links for more info:

Practical Solutions for Serious Problems in Standards-Based Grading
By: Thomas R. Guskey

Book Cover: Practical Solutions for Serious Problems in Standards Based Grading

Developing Grading and Reporting Systems for Student Learning
By: Thomas R. Guskey & Jane M. Bailey

Book Cover: Developing Grading and Reporting Systems for Student Learning

A Repair Kit for Grading. 15 Fixes for Broken Grades
By: Ken O'Connor

Dear Parents/Guardians:


As we begin a new school year, Mason teachers are eager and unified to continue to move forward in a direction that will allow them to focus their grading practices which communicates a true reflection of your child's learning. We are in our second year, of a three to five year roll-out, of standards based instruction. Grades are solely focused on learning and not on external characteristics that do not demonstrate learning towards the teachers' content standards. In order to be a cohesive team, the teachers at Mason understand and have agreed to use a common grading system to better measure and more effectively communicate your student’s academic achievement. All teachers will be looking at the standards needed to be taught in their classroom and will be assessing those items specifically. This method will enable, not only the teachers, but also the parents and students, to better understand their areas of strength and of growth. The common grading system consists of two categories for student work: formative and summative. 

Formative work provides the opportunity for students to practice new learning. Like an athlete practicing drills and plays before the big game, formative work helps provide feedback to the student and teacher to support the student’s learning.  The formative work will be assessed and recorded in the online grade book and will carry a weight of 20% of the student’s overall grade. While some of the formative grades will count towards the 20%, some scores might not compute. For example, you might see a yes/no/I/NC, etc. These grades are for informational purposes only. They provide feedback, but do not actually count as a numeric value.

Summative work, which is the big game, demonstrates the knowledge, skills, and learning students have acquired as a result of instruction and practice.  The summative work will be assessed and recorded in the online grade book and will carry a weight of 80% of the student’s overall grade. Summative assessments communicate the level of mastery of learning from the student. If a student wishes to work to improve his/her mastery of learning, the teacher will communicate the guidelines required for the student to make that possible.

Some of the common grading agreements, decided on by​ the staff at Mason, include:

  • ​Upgrading the grade book each Friday
  • After an assignment has been graded and returned, students have a 2 week window for students to retake assessments
  • In order to redo or retake assignments, all formative work must be completed
  • Formative assignments will account for 20% of the overall grade
  • Summative assignments will account for 80% of the overall grade

The BAME scale will be used to assess student progress and growth toward meeting Washington State Common Standards (CCSS) and Washington State Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALR). Assignments will be assessed formatively or summatively. 

Standards based grading uses the following terms: 

​Proficiency on Standard ​Level Traditional Letter Grade​ ​Standards/ BAME Grade ​Description of Evidence ​Percentage Equivalent
​No ​Incompete or Not Completed ​E ​I/NC ​Does not take or do assessment, leaves answers blank, writes answer unrelated to the question. ​50%
​No  ​Below Standard ​D ​B ​Demonstrates little to no proficiency or the standard assessed. ​65%
​No ​Approaching Standard ​C ​A ​Demonstrates some proficiency of skills and knowledge for the standard assessed. Work includes frequent or significant errors. ​75%
​Yes ​Meeting Standard ​B ​M ​Demonstrates proficiency of skills and knowledge for the standard assessed, little to no errors, AND student can apply knowledge to real-world situations ​85%
​Yes ​Exceeding Standard ​A ​E ​Demonstrates advanced mastery of skills and knowledge in the content area, no errors, AND student has demonstrated extension beyond the complex knowledge and skills of the course standards. ​100%
​Not Applicable ​Yes ​YES ​Assignment is received, but either is not yet graded or does not count toward final grade ​N/A
​Not Applicable ​No ​NO ​Assignment has not been received ​N/A
​Not Applicable ​Not Applicable ​NA ​Assignment does not pertain to the student  ​NA

Because learning is a process, students may start the year with "A" or "B" and move towards "M" during the school year.


Thank you for your help and support,

Mason Middle School ​​​